The food world lost one of its most enduring figureheads over the weekend when legendary cookbook author Marcella Hazan passed away at age 89 at her home in Florida. A mentor to both luminaries in the professional culinary world as well as home cooks across the nation, Hazan brought simple, unaffected Italian food to the US through a series of six cookbooks, beginning with her seminal The Classic Italian Cook Book, published in 1973. She championed salt, scolded the overuse of garlic and famously made her tomato sauce with just tomatoes, onion and butter.
An immigrant who moved to Queens from Italy in 1955, Hazan was horrified by the Americanized interpretations of Italian cuisine. Though not a cook herself, Hazan was determined to bring the fresh flavors of Italy to her new home in the United States. On top of her lack of cooking skills, Hazan also spoke no English; her husband, Victor, actually translated her cooking notes into English recipes. She eventually learned the language by watching television and “following the Brooklyn Dodgers,” according to the Times.
The widespread popularity of Italian food in this country can largely be traced back to the Hazans. “Because the Hazans championed fresh vegetables many people had never heard of (artichokes, fennel), olive oil andâ€”above allâ€”simplicity and clarity in cooking, they can be argued to have had even more influence on how Americans cook than Julia Child,” declares Corby Kummer at Bloomberg. In 2000, Hazan received the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hazan is survived by Victor, her husband of 57 years; her son Giuliano Hazan, who also teaches cooking; and her two granddaughters.
Marcella Hazan is gone…I wore her cookbooks out, and continue to use them; what an inspiration she was…
7:47 AM – 30 Sep 2013 from New York, NY, United States